The following question asks you to write a clear
essay that analyzes South Carolina’s reasons
for seceding from the Union. Use both the
documents listed on next two pages and your knowledge of the time period. You
may also use the time line you previously completed.
What were South Carolina’s stated reasons for seceding from the United States
in December, 1860? Do you believe that the stated reasons were the complete
explanation for South Carolina’s
secession? Was South Carolina
justified in seceding?
your answer in a well-organized essay that demonstrates your understanding of
documents and your knowledge of the time period.
Source:Confederate States of America Declaration of the Immediate Causes
Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina
from the Federal Union; adopted December 24, 1860
were established the two great principles asserted by the Colonies, namely: the
right of a State to govern itself; and the right of a people to abolish a
Government when it becomes destructive of the ends for which it was instituted.
And concurrent with the establishment of these principles, was the fact that each
Colony became and was recognized by the mother Country a FREE, SOVEREIGN AND
…an amendment was added [to the United States
Constitution], which declared that the powers not delegated to the United
States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to
the States, respectively, or to the people.
…in every compact between two
or more parties, the obligation is mutual; that the failure of one of the
contracting parties to perform a material part of the agreement, entirely
releases the obligation of the other; and that where no arbiter is provided,
each party is remitted to his own judgment to determine the fact of failure,
with all its consequences.
ends for which the Constitution was framed are declared by itself to be
“to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic
tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and
secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
ends it endeavored to accomplish by a Federal Government, in which each State
was recognized as an equal, and had separate control over its own institutions.
new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.
We, therefore, the People of South Carolina …
solemnly declared that the Union heretofore
existing between this State and the other States of North America, is
Source:Jefferson Davis’s inaugural address,
February 8, 1861
“Resolved, That the maintenance
inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State
to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own
judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the
perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the
lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no
matter what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.”
Source:Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural address,
March 4 1861
Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the
Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration, their
property, and their peace, and personal security, are to be endangered. There
has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most
ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed, and been open to
their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who
now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare
that “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the
institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no
lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” Those who
nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this, and
many similar declarations, and had never recanted them.”